In Washington DC right now at the National Coalition of Girls Schools Global Forum II. My colleague, Kathy Binns, Head of Science, and I are presenting on our work integrating science and design in interdisciplinary projects. This has been a valuable opportunity for us to reflect on where our respective programs (Design and Science) are going, and how they overlap and support each other.
Our presentation shared what we have been doing and our thinking about future directions. As an IB school, we are focused on developing our students into inquirers and thinkers. Our interest lies in developing our students' skills to become collaborative and independent designers and thinkers.
Thinking of inquiry as a continuum, we have conceptualized it as above. Each grade level undertakes a large-scale IDU (Inter-Disciplinary Unit) during the course of the year. We envision these intensive experiences as opportunities to develop and apply skills and understandings, with each year building on the previous, towards a culmination in year 11.
- Grade 6: Collaborative experiences that develop these
- Grade 7: Presentation and Communication of learning
- Grade 8: Risk-taking to develop unique solutions
- Grade 9: Inquiry using data and iteration to solve challenging problems
- Grade 10: Applying research and analysis to synthesize new solutions to challenging problems
- Grade 11: Collaborative scientific inquiry to support the Group 4 project (a mandatory part of the DP curriculum)
The Grade 9 and Grade 10 projects dealt with sustainable energy production and biomimicry, respectively. This year, Grade 8 inquired into developing oil recover systems using robots. This was inspired by an oil spill of the cost of Jeju Island. Our grade 7 unit was performance art based, while the grade 6 explored digital media and story-telling.
This framework is the first step for us. It builds upon what we already have in our curriculums. Yet, we did not really know what had until we started to reflect on the connections. Based on some conversations with others at the conference, as well as watching some excellent presentations, we are inspired to iterate these IDUs further. Developing service opportunities and authentic audiences are our next steps, as well as strengthening the connections we already have are our two goals.